by Todd Fulginiti
As a life-long introvert in need of some serious recharging time, I was “all-in” for a night of just hanging out at home with the family and a close friend. It was perfect until we decided to pile into the car for a trip to a popular ice cream spot.
Why leave a perfect evening? Ice cream has magical powers sometimes. Besides, the place was only minutes away. And it was take-out only so we’d be home again within minutes. So off we went.
At that point, my introvert social skills were like an iPhone battery with 1% left, working great until suddenly- nothing. So, of course we ran into people we knew as soon as we pulled into the place. No problem- I was still on 1%. The problem began when, a few minutes later, I was greeted by another friendly, recognizable face. By then my battery had died and I was in social shutdown mode. That’s also when another of my issues arose- I’m horrible with names. Bad combo!
Not only could I not come up with a name to match the face, my family told me afterwards that I appeared clearly uninterested in talking to the person. That wasn’t the case though. I was interested, and tried to return the friendly vibes and conversation. But, as Yoda once said in Star Wars, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Unfortunately, I did not. I should have just ‘fessed up and asked the person’s name. But once again, I did not. There was no try, just an unsteady conversation.
So, on behalf of myself and all other socially drained introverts and name forgetters, I hereby apologize for the awkward conversations, abrasiveness, and general discomfort that can sometimes come from interacting with us when we need recharging. Apologies too for addressing people by pronoun instead of proper name. We aren’t being jerks on purpose, sometimes it just comes out that way.
Most of us have a few minor, personal issues to manage. Sometimes we do well and appear “normal”. Others times- not so much. Sometimes several issues pounce on us at once and life becomes a rugby scrum.
The point is to remember that each of us has aspects of our personality that make us hard to deal with sometimes. Some people talk without thinking. Some focus on the negative. Some can’t manage a calendar. Some are too distracted to be good listeners. Some people know everything. Some are bad with names. The list is endless. But whatever the situation, people are probably not trying to be difficult on purpose. They might be, of course. But more likely, they’re at 1% of whatever battery they’re trying to manage. So let’s do our best to keep our personal batteries charged, cut each other some slack when we’re drained, and go fearlessly to the ice cream shop whenever we can.
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